Update: EB lanes, one WB now open after rock slide closed I-70 in Glenwood Canyon
UPDATE (5 p.m.) — I-70 will continue to be closed intermittently into Wednesday as crews continue to break the larger boulders and repair potholes caused by the rockfall.
Road workers made progress on breaking and removing debris Tuesday afternoon, but that work will continue into Wednesday, CDOT spokesperson Lisa Schwantes said.
During blasting, both directions of the interstate will be closed.
CDOT will determine whether to conduct scaling operations, but need good weather to properly inspect the hillside. According to weather forecasts, Thursday might be the first chance crews will have to analyze the hillside, using either a crane or helicopter.
“We need a break in the weather, and we’re not expecting a break until Thursday. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for Friday to get going on additional inspection and potential scaling,” Schwantes said.
Both directions of the interstate will be closed during scaling operations.
The damage to the guardrail also has not been completely assessed, Schwantes said.
UPDATE (2 p.m.) — One westbound lane of I-70 in Glenwood Canyon has now been opened, following the morning rock slide.
UPDATE (11:57 a.m.) — Road crews expected open one westbound lane of I-70 through Glenwood Canyon at some point Tuesday afternoon, CDOT said in a call with reporters.
Eastbound lanes are open, but both directions of I-70 will be closed intermittently through the canyon Tuesday afternoon while crews drill into the boulders, set explosive charges and clear the debris.
“All lanes will need to be closed when they downsize these rocks,” said Ty Ortiz, a geohazards specialist for CDOT. Crews may also work on scaling the hillside later Tuesday afternoon, which would also require a road closure.
“We will try to keep one lane westbound open, but there will be these periodic and intermittent closures when we are doing that work,” CDOT spokeswoman Lisa Schwantes said.
The rockfall brought down several large rocks the size of SUVs, Schwantes said, and those boulders are still blocking part of the interstate.
For westbound drivers, CDOT and Colorado State Patrol recommend going north through Steamboat Springs on state Highway 131, west through Craig on U.S. Highway 40, and south to Rifle on state Highway 13.
Cottonwood Pass is not a recommended alternate route due to slick, muddy conditions.
UPDATE (10:55 a.m.) — Eastbound lanes of I-70 are currently open through Glenwood Canyon after the rockfall early Tuesday morning.
Westbound lanes are still closed at exit 133 Dotsero as crews assess the hillside and clear the fallen rock. There is no estimated time for reopening the westbound lanes.
UPDATE (9:44 a.m.) — Eastbound I-70 through Glenwood Canyon expected to reopen mid morning after a rockfall earlier Tuesday morning. Currently, eastbound traffic is stopped at Exit 116 (main Glenwood/Highway 82 exit).
Westbound traffic is stopped at mile marker 133, and there is no estimated time of opening.
Crews with heavy equipment are on the scene clearing rock and boulders, CDOT said in a press release. No cars were involved in the rockfall, and no injuries have been reported, CDOT said.
UPDATE (8:35 a.m.) — A front-end loader was reportedly on scene to clear the eastbound lanes in Glenwood Canyon, and a drone pilot was en route to fly over the slide area and assess the situation. Meanwhile, CDOT was preparing to open Vail Pass eastbound following an earlier crash and safety closure this morning.
UPDATE (7:45 a.m.) — A rock slide has now closed Interstate 70 in both directions through Glenwood Canyon. Safety officials are preparing to close the interstate at Exit 116 eastbound and at Dotsero westbound, according to reports.
A safety closure was also in effect as of 7 a.m. Tuesday for Interstate 70 eastbound at Vail Pass, amid a May snowstorm that is creating hazardous road conditions in the high country.
There is no estimated time of reopening. Expect delays and avoid the area if possible.
The closure area is between mile markers 176 and 180, according to Colorado Department of Transportation’s CoTrip.org, where the latest road conditions for I-70 and other Colorado highways can be found.
Reports on the local Roaring Fork Road and Weather Facebook page also indicate a traffic backup on eastbound I-70 in South Canyon west of Glenwood Springs, also about 7 a.m. this morning, due to a crash.
According to CDOT, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the mountains of Summit and Eagle counties through midnight tonight. Eight to 18 inches of snow is forecast, and motorists are advised that chain and traction laws are in effect, and safety closures should be anticipated.
This is a developing story and will be updated as new information is available.
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